Imagine waking up in your apartment in New York City. You go through your daily morning routine and head out the door to “catch the tube.” You arrive at work in less than an hour, ready for a full day of client meetings.
Possible? One company certainly thinks so, and has a former Porsche, BMW and Ferrari engineer leading the way to develop vacuum tubes that can move people from one point on Earth to another in about an hour.
You probably don’t want to book your tickets just yet, because the tube technology won’t be available until about 2100. But the cars that will travel in them could be ready by 2015.
A Swiss company called Acabion, led by Peter Maskus, is building vehicles it says are the successor to modern cars. The company is working on the GTBO VIII “da Vinci,” a $15 million electric vehicle with a top speed of 375 mph that Acabion claims is 20 times more efficient than current EVs. By 2050, Maskus sees a series of elevated roadways for the high-speed Acabion vehicles to use, safely out of the way of the antique automobiles still lumbering along on traditional roads below. But here’s where the real sci-fi begins: Those Acabion vehicles would be capable of entering future vacuum tubes that would propel the vehicles quickly enough for drivers to commute daily between Paris and New York. Or go around the globe in two hours.
Maskus said to Wired,
Two tubes between New York and Paris, 1.5 meters in diameter each, maglev driven and fully automatic controlled, will move three times more people between America and Europe than all airplanes do today.
On its website, Acabion calls this network of intercontinental vacuum tubes a “traffic internet,” which sounds all kinds of cool. Completely unfathomable, but cool.
I have my doubts that such technology will ever really come to fruition. I mean seriously, humans today can’t even get the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S and Scion iQ to market on time. How are we going to design and build 12,000-mph vacuum tubes that span the planet?
While cool, I’ll write this one off as a well-thought-out “pipe” dream.
Do you think vacuum tubes have a place in the the future of transportation, or is that all just crazy talk?